What Causes Childhood Obesity?
As a child you would have always found a girl or boy in your class who was overweight and extremely chubby! You used to make fun of them, right? Such kids are always taunted. Over the years, more number of over-weight or even obese kids are spotted everywhere. Why? What is the reason? Why are kids getting obese? Well, that is the matter to be discussed in this post!
There are certain genetic or hormonal causes behind childhood obesity. However, excess weight of children is due to under exercising and overeating. Kids need extra calories for their growth and development. When taken in the right amount, the calories help children in adding on weight in proportion to their growth, which is normal. But when children consume more calories than they burn, it will result in unwanted weight gain.
There are a number of factors that result in childhood obesity and they include:
Regular consumption of foods that are high in calories like fast food, baked goodies, cold drinks, candy, chips and other snacks result in weight gain. Children have the tendency to snack on unhealthy stuff throughout the day and nowadays kids have a lot of options to choose from! This unhealthy trend of constant snacking is the major culprit behind the weight gain.
No physical activity
Thanks to laptops, ipads and iphones, kids are leading a sedentary lifestyle. Gone are the days when you could spot kids playing outdoors. By following such a lifestyle they burn fewer calories and are more likely to gain weight. By the age of 3 many kids lack sufficient physical activities that gets changed into poor exercise habits in later years of life.
If you as a parent, stock up your fridge and kitchen cabinet with all kinds of junk food, sorry to say, your child will not be healthy. When kids open the cabinet of the kitchen and see bags of chips, it is most likely that they will prefer to eat that! However, if they see colourful and creatively cut fruits and veggies, yoghurt, high fibre granola bars, they will go in for that stuff which is good for them. Don’t ask your kids to completely give up treats, they can have it once in a while but the focus should always be on eating a healthy and balanced diet.
Just like adults, there are kids who seek refuge in food for dealing with negative emotions like stress, boredom or anxiety. There are children who are coping with the divorce of their parents or the demise of a loved one. In such cases they turn to over-eating.
If being overweight is in the child’s genes, then he or she may to be overweight especially if the child has a lot of high calorie foods without sufficient physical activity.
Though quite uncommon, certain hormonal disorders and genetic diseases can result in obesity in children. They include:
Hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid gland is under-active and doesn’t release hormones to control the body’s metabolism.
Prader-Willi syndrome, which is a genetic disorder that affects the part of the brain that controls the feelings of hunger.
Cushing’s syndrome, which is a disorder when the body is exposed to too much of the hormone called cortisol.
Research shows that kids who sleep less than the recommended 13 hours at the age of 2 are more likely to be obese by age 7. Reason for this can be that fatigue changes the levels of hormones that regulate appetite and this can cause kids to eat more.
Don’t let your child get obese! Take care!
Hope you found this post on childhood obesity useful!
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